Although it’s far from the most accessible place in the world, the Philippines plans to court the accessible tourism market by offering discounts to disabled tourists. A 20% discount for disabled residents is already mandated at hotels, attractions and transportation providers throughout the country; and according to Philippine Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, “These benefits should be extended to tourists with disabilities”.
The announcement was made at a Cebu City gathering celebrating National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.
The Philippine Tourism Department will also give out awards to properties that excel in access and they plan to start holding seminars on “sensitivity to PWDs”. According to Tourism Undersecretary Victoria Jasmin, “The time is right to commence more concerted action on this issue.”
Interestingly enough this announcement came at a time when tourism to the Philippines has greatly fallen off, and the tourism department is looking for ways to change that.
And as I’ve been saying for years, the whole tourism industry is moving from a mindset of mandate to marketing edge. Granted the Philippines has quite a ways to go before they have a barrier-free tourism infrastructure, but starting out with the right attitude is a step in the right direction.
Time will tell.